Process Improvementby Rus Slater
Mapping your process
There is no right or wrong way to go about the actual activity of mapping a process, but the method outlined below is one that is commonly used and it seems to work well.
If you are mapping ‘should be’, but you know that there is an ‘as is’, it is wise to map that as well.
- Make sure that everyone understands the parameters of the task: where are we going to start; where are we going to stop; what level of detail do we want and whether we are mapping the process ‘as is’ or as it ‘should be’.
- Stick a roll of brown paper along the wall to map the process onto (here, a horizontal flow alignment
normally works best unless you have very tall people and very high walls!).
The reason for using sticky notes, string and sticky putty is that it will allow you to move things as you develop the map during the mapping and improvement stages.
- Put up your start point symbol.
- Brainstorm all the activities onto large rectangular sticky notes.
- Brainstorm the decisions onto square sticky notes, turned through 45 degrees to form diamonds.
- Arrange the activities along the brown paper, using string and sticky putty to show the flow.
- Check for agreement with all the people who actually use the process or fulfil the activities. Look for concurrency: usually in a process you will find that there are areas where a number of sub-processes are happening at the same time and then coming together when they are all ready (see the example given in From start to finish).
A simple process map for the production of process maps is shown below.
Mapping a process